Anchoring and leaving the engine key in cockpit?

When we are at anchor we leave the key for the engine in the lock. We also make sure that the power to the windlass is on. The only thing we look is the companionway door.

Engine Key

Engine Key is ready to go.

Power to the windlass is left on.

Power to the windlass is left on.

This is done just to make it simple for someone to re-anchor the boat, if it is dragging and we are not on-board.  There is always a possibility that others cruiser can help.

One day we had a cruising friend on-board that pointed out that his insurance company did not cover, if the boat would be stolen if he left the key in the cockpit.

The day after I contacted Pantaenius, and asked what their policy was?

Bo, who is the manager for Pantaenius Sweden is also a sailor and said his boat had dragged just some weeks ago on anchor.  As the key was is the cockpit, damages could be avoided.

His answer was clear,  Pantaenius does cover, if the boat is stolen when left on anchor with the key in. His standpoint is that it would be more expensive to pay for damages caused by boats dragging that cannot be re-anchored, than boats that are stolen.

It is nice to deal with a company that is managed by sailors who have common sense.

I´m sure they do not cover if the boat is left for longer periods on anchor with the key in.

For example in Rio Guadiana we did see several boats left for the winter on anchor in the river.  Some of them dragged when the river flooded.  Then it is a domino effect when that boat hit the next one… I was not surprised when a local said the river floods every winter.

Boats on anchor in the river

Boats on anchor in the river

The boats in the picture are not left over winter, but upstream there was. It is easy to imagine  what could happen if  one of them dragged.

For me it is common sense not to leave the boat on anchor for longer periods with no one on-board, with or without key.


2 thoughts on “Anchoring and leaving the engine key in cockpit?

  1. yves george

    Fully agree ; we do the same . That said , you never know what a (non sailing) lawyer may come up with ! Common sense is not their concern .

    1. Roland Post author

      Hi Yves,
      Lawyers is one thing we should try to avoid as much as possible! Not that I have anything about people who decided to practice law. But when layers get involved it means that there already is a conflict that can not be solved by common sense. This is why I think it is good that Pantaenius take a firm stand point on the subject.


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